Words & Media from the DU Lamont School of Music - Our Official Online Newsletter
Thank you for joining us with another edition of Lamont Lyrics! We are delighted to bring you news and share profiles of individuals from the greater Lamont community: an alumnus expanding into film; proud parents of a student leaving her mark at Lamont; a student whose journey includes the viola, the Army, establishing a foundation, and more; an ambitious new President of the Lamont Society; and a faculty member who founded a chamber music festival.
The past year this community, facing COVID, saw and met its greatest challenge. While navigating limiting mitigations, music persevered through our 230 streamed performances and events. We composed. We thought in new ways. We harnessed technology to our advantage. I am so proud of what faculty, students, and staff accomplished. It is an honor to serve such a community.
The beginning of a new academic year always feels propitious. Even with unknowns ahead of us, I invite you to join me, looking optimistically toward the year ahead as we continue to make music, create, and sustain our community, highlights of which you will read in this and future editions of Lamont Lyrics.
Keith Ward, Director, Lamont School of Music
Take a Look at Us
Drawing from around the world, over the last three years Lamont has added to its star-studded performance faculty.
From Berlin & the World of Opera
Heidi Melton, soprano
Dramatic soprano Heidi Melton has been called “the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson” (La Presse), with a voice that is “big, gleaming and tonally resplendent” (San Francisco Chronicle). She has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Bayreuth Festival, Oper Frankfurt, Badisches Staatstheater, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Canadian Opera Company. Heidi joined Lamont in 2021.
From the World of Symphony Orchestras
Courtney Hershey Bress
Courtney Hershey Bress joined the Colorado Symphony as Principal Harp in 2001. Before coming to Denver, Ms. Bress enjoyed a wide and varied freelance career, including engagements with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has served as Acting Principal of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was Principal Harp with the United States Army Field Band in Washington, D.C. Courtney joined Lamont in 2021.
From the UK & the Worlds of Opera & Broadway
Richard Harris, trombone
A native of Worcestershire, England, trombonist Richard Harris recently performed on the GRAMMY award-winning album Twelve Little Spells with Esperanza Spalding, appeared on the OSCAR-wining soundtrack Joker, released a new recording of the Eric Richards Trombone Quartet Concerto and has performed on Broadway, at The Metropolitan Opera and at Radio City Music Hall. Richard joined Lamont in 2020.
From the World of Composition
Sean Friar, composer & pianist
Sean Friar's first musical experiences were in rock and blues piano improvisation. While his focus shifted toward classical, his compositions have always kept in touch with the energy and communicative directness of those musical roots. His compositions have been called “powerfully engaging and incredibly fun” (I Care if You Listen) and “refreshingly new and solidly mature" (Slate Magazine). Sean joined Lamont in 2020.
From the Worlds of Horn Performance & New Music
David Byrd-Marrow, horn
Atlanta native David Byrd-Marrow is the solo hornist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a new music collective that performs internationally and serves as ensemble-in-residence at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Working with a uniquely wide range of performers, he has premiered works by Matthias Pintscher, Arthur Kampela, George Lewis, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Du Yun, Marcos Balter, Wang Lu, Kate Soper, Miguel Zenón, and Chick Corea. David joined Lamont in 2019.
From Iran & the World of Opera
Sahar Nouri, Music Director, Lamont Opera Theatre
Iranian conductor and pianist, Sahar Nouri, returns to Opera Colorado in 2021-22 for a sixth season serving as the company’s chorus master, assistant conductor and principal coach. Previously, Ms. Nouri has been a member of the music staff at San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera North Carolina, Opera Parallèle, Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Opera in the Heights, Aspen Opera Theatre, Opera Steamboat and Merola Opera. She is also on the music staff at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Sahar joined Lamont in 2019.
From Russia and the World of Violin Performance
Igor Pikayzen, violin
Award-winning Russian-American violinist Igor Pikayzen is confidently establishing himself as one of the most prodigious and in-demand soloists of his generation. Praised on four continents by critics and audiences alike for his “astounding technical ability” and a “majestically lush tone”, Igor Pikayzen “surely is at the forefront of a major musical career” (Moscow Times). Igor joined Lamont in 2019.
Triumphing Over the Pandemic
Lamont Opera Theatre
Mozart's "The Magic Flute"
On three nights, Lamont Opera Theatre student singers, LSO musicians, director Matthew Plenk, conductor Sahar Nouri and the Lamont production team streamed a staged and costumed concert production of Mozart’s comic opera The Magic Flute. They overcame safety protocols that had them singing in masks while 12 feet apart.
Met Orchestra Musicians
Principal artists of MET Orchestra Musicians visited the DU campus virtually to teach master classes. While waiting to return to the pit at Lincoln Center, these outstanding musicians imparted their knowledge and performance experience to Lamont students on four Sundays in February.
Photo: Demian Austin, principal trombone
Artist in Residence
Joe Alessi, trombone
Joe Alessi, principal trombone with the New York Philharmonic, masked up and came to campus for a residency performing with the Lamont Wind Ensemble, Trombone Choir and the jazz faculty ensemble Phröntrange.
230 Streamed Concerts, Master Classes & Events
Lamont's streaming production team built a streaming capability in days and then went on to stream 230 concerts, master classes and events. Screenshot of Lamont graduate cellist Kelcey Howell performing with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra.
Introducing an alumnus starring in his first major film, an exceptional "nontraditional student," parents who supported their daughter from early ballet to jazz, the new president of the Lamont Society, and a faculty member celebrating milestones.
Jeff & Wendy Pucillo described their daughter Ruby as "a little performer coming out of the womb." Now Ruby is an accomplished Lamont jazz vocalist.Read More
The Show Must Go On, Lamont Distinguished Alumni Award & Newman Fellowship Gift
Robert Wolff, BM 1983, Receives 2021 Lamont Distinguished Alumni Award
Scoring editor for three of John Williams' Star Wars films and currently editing a recording project for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Lamont School of Music has named film scoring and recording editor Robert Wolff (BM 1983) as the recipient of its 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award was voted by the faculty for the second year as part of an effort to honor and connect with Lamont alumni. The award will be formally presented to Wolff when he visits the campus later this year.
Photo: Andrea Shea, WBUR/Boston. A Boston Symphony Orchestra playback session for Shostakovich #8, Symphony Hall, Boston, March 2016. (L to R) Maestro Andris Nelsons and Robert Wolff.Read Profile
Gift from Robert and Judi Newman Benefits Music Students
Robert & Judi Newman, whose involvement with the University spans decades, recently renewed a gift to Lamont that funds a two-year fellowship for master of music students in performance or conducting.Read Story
Give to Lamont
The Lamont School of Music is grateful for the generosity of donors who have made a significant impact through the Lamont Society. Thank you.
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